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New Survey Shows Nearly All U.S. Hospitals Using Certified Health IT to Manage Patient Care

According to data from a new survey to be released today at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., nearly all of the nation’s hospitals have adopted certified electronic health records (EHRs).

This represents a nine-fold increase since 2008, according to survey data from the American Hospital Association (AHA) Information Technology Supplement. The data also show there have been increases in sharing health data among hospitals, with over 85 percent of hospitals sending key clinical information electronically.

For the next three days, ONC will convene key stakeholders across the public and private sector to discuss the collective work to advance the seamless and secure flow of health information for a number of national priorities, including advancing delivery system reform and improving health and facilitates science and research, such as through the Precision Medicine Initiative.

This year’s sessions align with the three core commitments that market leaders have made around improving consumer access to their health information, combating information blocking, and implementing federally recognized, national standards so that different health IT systems can speak the same language. Today’s agenda will include panel discussions with health IT influencers from both the public and private sectors, featuring conversations on high profile topics critical to achieving “Better Health through IT,” this year’s theme.

The day will conclude with a fireside chat between National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., and former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.  Secretary Sebelius oversaw the implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009, which led to a rapid increase in the adoption and use of health IT.

“As we kick off the 2016 ONC Annual Meeting today, these data showing nearly universal adoption of certified electronic health records by U.S. hospitals are an indication of how far we have come for clinicians and individuals since the HITECH Act was passed,” said DeSalvo. “I look forward to these next three days with leaders from across the country to discuss our collective work to ensure health information can flow where and when it is needed for national priorities like delivery system reform, the Precision Medicine Initiative, the Cancer Moonshot, and the opioid crisis.”

Over 1,200 people are expected to attend the 2016 ONC Annual Meeting, with several hundred joining online via streaming webcast.

The ONC data briefs released today show the adoption rate of certified EHRs has increased from almost 72 percent in 2011 (when this information began to be collected) to 96 percent in 2015. While the overall rate for the use of certified health IT has remained stable, the new data show that adoption rates for small, rural, and critical access hospitals increased.

The AHA data also show that:

  • The percentage of hospitals sending, receiving and finding key clinical information grew between 2014 and 2015.
  • In 2015, about half of hospitals had health information electronically available from providers outside their systems; this grew by five percent from 2014.
  • About half of hospitals report they often or sometimes use patient information they receive electronically from providers outside their systems.

The two data briefs, Adoption of Electronic Health Record Systems among U.S. Non-Federal Acute Care Hospitals: 2008 – 2015 and Interoperability among U.S. Non-Federal Acute Care Hospitals in 2015 can be viewed at HealthIT.gov.

May 31, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

EHR Incentive Programs: Where We Go Next (Message from Andy Slavitt and Karen DeSalvo)

Where We’ve Been

As we mentioned in a speech last week, the Administration is working on an important transition for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. We have been working side by side with physician organizations and have listened to the needs and concerns of many about how we can make improvements that will allow technology to best support clinicians and their patients. While we will be putting out additional details in the next few months, we wanted to provide an update today.

In 2009, the country embarked on an effort to bring technology that benefits us in the rest of our lives into the health care system. The great promise of technology is to bring information to our fingertips, connect us to one another, improve our productivity, and create a platform for a next generation of innovations that we can’t imagine today.

Not long ago, emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, and other facilities were sparsely wired. Even investing in technology seemed daunting. There was no common infrastructure. Physician offices often didn’t have the capital to get started and it was hard for many to see the benefit of automating silos when patient care was so dispersed. We’ve come a long way since then with more than 97 percent of hospitals and three quarters of physician offices now wired.

It’s taken a tremendous commitment by physicians, hospitals, technologists, patient groups and experts from all over the country to make the progress we’ve made together in a few short years. The EHR Incentive Programs were designed in the initial years to encourage the adoption of new technology and measure the benefits for patients. And while it helped us make progress, it has also created real concerns about placing too much of a burden on physicians and pulling their time away from caring for patients.

Transitioning From Measuring Clicks to Focusing on Care

Last year, the Administration and Congress took two extraordinary steps to put patients at the center of how we pay for care and support physicians. First, the Administration set a goal that 30 percent in 2016 and 50 percent in 2018 of Medicare payments will be linked to getting better results for patients, providing better care, spending healthcare dollars more wisely, and keeping people healthy.  And, second, Congress advanced this goal through the passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which considers quality, cost, and clinical practice improvement activities in calculating how Medicare physician payments are determined. While MACRA also continues to require that physicians be measured on their meaningful use of certified EHR technology for purposes of determining their Medicare payments, it provides a significant opportunity to transition the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for physicians towards the reality of where we want to go next.

What Comes Next

We have been working side by side with physician and consumer communities and have listened to their needs and concerns. As we move forward under MACRA, we will be sharing details and inviting comment as we roll out our proposed regulations this spring. All of this work will be guided by several critical principles:

  1. Rewarding providers for the outcomes technology helps them achieve with their patients.
  2. Allowing providers the flexibility to customize health IT to their individual practice needs. Technology must be user-centered and support physicians.
  3. Leveling the technology playing field to promote innovation, including for start-ups and new entrants, by unlocking electronic health information through open APIs – technology tools that underpin many consumer applications.  This way, new apps, analytic tools and plug-ins can be easily connected to so that data can be securely accessed and directed where and when it is needed in order to support patient care.
  4. Prioritizing interoperability by implementing federally recognized, national interoperability standards and focusing on real-world uses of technology, like ensuring continuity of care during referrals or finding ways for patients to engage in their own care. We will not tolerate business models that prevent or inhibit the data from flowing around the needs of the patient.

What This Means for Doctors and Hospitals 
As we work through a transition from the staged meaningful use phase to the new program as it will look under MACRA, it is important for physicians and other clinicians to keep in mind several important things:

  1. The current law requires that we continue to measure the meaningful use of ONC Certified Health Information Technology under the existing set of standards. While MACRA provides an opportunity to adjust payment incentives associated with EHR incentives in concert with the principles we outlined here, it does not eliminate it, nor will it instantly eliminate all the tensions of the current system. But we will continue to listen and learn and make improvements based on what happens on the front line.
  2. The MACRA legislation only addresses Medicare physician and clinician payment adjustments. The EHR incentive programs for Medicaid and Medicare hospitals have a different set of statutory requirements. We will continue to explore ways to align with principles we outlined above as much as possible for hospitals and the Medicaid program.
  3. The approach to meaningful use under MACRA won’t happen overnight. Our goal in communicating our principles now is to give everyone time to plan for what’s next and to continue to give us input.  We encourage you to look for the MACRA regulations this year; in the meantime, our existing regulations – including meaningful use Stage 3 – are still in effect.
  4. In December, Congress gave us new authority to streamline the process for granting hardship exception’s under meaningful use.  This will allow groups of health care providers to apply for a hardship exception instead of each doctor applying individually. This should make the process much simpler for physicians and their practice managers in the future. We will be releasing guidance on this new process soon.

These principles we’ve outlined here reflect the constructive and clear articulation of issues and open sharing of views and data by stakeholders across the health care system, but they also promote our highest priority – better care for the beneficiaries of the Medicare and Medicaid program and patients everywhere.

The challenge with any change is moving from principles to reality. The process will be ongoing, not an instant fix and we must all commit to learning and improving and collaborating on the best solutions. Ultimately, we believe this is a process that will be most successful when physicians and innovators can work together directly to create the best tools to care for patients. We look forward to working collaboratively with stakeholders on advancing this change in the months ahead.

January 19, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HHS issues rules to advance electronic health records with added simplicity and flexibility

Public comment period offers forum to gather additional feedback and inform future policies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today released final rules that simplify requirements and add new flexibilities for providers to make electronic health information available when and where it matters most and for health care providers and consumers to be able to readily, safely, and securely exchange that information. The final rule for 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria (2015 Edition) and final rule with comment period for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Incentive Programs will help continue to move the health care industry away from a paper-based system, where a doctor’s handwriting needed to be interpreted and patient files could be misplaced.

“We have a shared goal of electronic health records helping physicians, clinicians, and hospitals to deliver better care, smarter spending, and healthier people.  We eliminated unnecessary requirements, simplified and increased flexibility for those that remain, and focused on interoperability, information exchange, and patient engagement. By 2018, these rules move us beyond the staged approach of ‘meaningful use’ and focus on broader delivery system reform,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, M.D., M.Sc., CMS deputy administrator for innovation and quality and chief medical officer. “Most importantly we are seeking additional public comments and plan for active engagement of stakeholders so we take time to get broad input on how to improve these programs over time.”

HHS heard from physicians and other providers about the challenges they face making this technology work well for their individual practices and for their patients. In recognition of these concerns, the regulations announced today make significant changes in current requirements. They will ease the reporting burden for providers, support interoperability, and improve patient outcomes.  Providers can choose the measures of progress that are most meaningful to their practice and have more time to implement changes to program requirements. Providers are encouraged to apply for hardship exceptions if they need to switch or have other technology difficulties with their EHR vendor. Additionally, the new rules give developers more time to create user-friendly technologies that give individuals easier access to their information so they can be engaged and empowered in their care.

As part of today’s regulations, CMS announced a 60-day public comment period to gather additional feedback about the EHR Incentive Programs going forward, in particular with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which established the Merit-based Incentive Payment System and consolidates certain aspects of a number of quality measurement and federal incentive programs into one more efficient framework. We will use this feedback to inform future policy developments for the EHR Incentive Programs, as well as consider it during rulemaking to implement MACRA, which we expect to release in the spring of 2016.

In addition to the final rule for the EHR Incentive Programs, ONC is also announcing the final rule for the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. This rule focuses on increasing interoperability – a secure but seamless flow of electronic health information – and improving transparency and competition in the health IT marketplace.

“This rule is a key step forward in our work with the private sector to realize the shared goal of making actionable electronic health information available when and where it matters most to transform care and improve health for the individual, community and larger population.   It will bring us closer to a world in which health care providers and consumers can readily, safely and securely exchange electronic health information,” said Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., national coordinator for health IT.

For more information about today’s announcement visit: http://cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-10-06.html

For more information on the CMS final rule with comment period, click here:http://cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-10-06-2.html

For more information on ONC’s editions of certification criteria visit:
https://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/factsheet_draft_2015-10-06.pdf

October 6, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HIMSS Submits Comments on CMS Meaningful Use Stage 3; 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria

Focused on better health through the best use of information technology, HIMSS points to critical components of the draft regulations and suggests improvements to advance the secure and consistent digital exchange of patient health information.      

Arlington, VA (May 29, 2015) – On Thursday, May 28, HIMSS submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services on  the Meaningful Use Stage 3 proposed rule and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria.  The two letters, sent to Acting CMS Administrator, Andrew Slavitt, and National Coordinator for Health IT, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, respectively, strongly urge CMS and ONC to:

  • Decrease the prescriptive nature of the EHR Incentive program,
  • Increase focus on the substantial capabilities established earlier in the program, and
  • Reduce complexity in the 2015 Certification Criteria.

HIMSS voiced its continued support for the Meaningful Use Program as a tool to positively transform health and healthcare in the United States. Identifying meaningful use as a “critical tool for enabling healthcare transformation,” the response cites HIMSS Analytics data – collected annually on all non-federal US hospitals, and more than 30,000 tethered US ambulatory facilities – that “70% of hospitals have made a positive progression in the advancement of their EHR capabilities over the last five years, with over 60% of ambulatory facilities showing similar progress in the last three years.”

HIMSS reiterated its long-standing commitment to interoperability:  “HIMSS is committed to a culture in which IT is fundamental to transforming healthcare; improving quality of care, enhancing the patient experience, containing cost, improving access to care, and optimizing effectiveness of public payment.”

The full comments on HIMSS response to the CMS Meaningful Use Stage 3include:

  • HIMSS remains strongly committed to making the Electronic Health Record Incentive program less prescriptive and more focused on encouraging and assisting providers to take advantage of the substantial capabilities established in Meaningful Use Stages 1 and 2, including interoperability.
  • HIMSS applauds a proposal in the NPRM for a single definition of Meaningful Use starting in calendar year 2018, no matter when a provider began to participate in the EHR Incentive Program.
  • HIMSS supports the work being done by CMS to align the EHR Incentive Program with other CMS quality reporting programs that also use certified health IT.  HIMSS believes such efforts will lessen the burden on providers.
  • HIMSS is committed to ensuring patient safety remains paramount to the development, implementation, and wide-spread use of health IT systems.
  • HIMSS reiterates its long-standing assertion that 18 months is the minimum length of time needed between the final rules on Meaningful Use, certification, and standards, and the start of any stage of Meaningful Use.  An 18-month timeline allows stakeholders to help educate and prepare providers on the upcoming new stage.  The current timeline for transitioning to Meaningful Use, Stage 3 in 2017 and 2018 does not include 18 months.

The full HIMSS comments  on the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria include:

  • ONC must address the overall complexity of the 2015 Edition Certification Rule by reducing the total number of criterion, as well as the standards and functionalities included.
  • HIMSS acknowledges that ONC and CMS attempted to reduce the complexity of the requirements for the 2015 edition certification criteria and Meaningful Use Stage 3 in their respective NPRMs for this cycle.  However, given all the new requirements included in this NPRM, HIMSS urges ONC to reconsider the requirements needed for the 2015 edition certification criteria and consider approaches to minimize and simplify the options presented.
  • HIMSS remains cautiously supportive of ONC’s efforts to establish innovative certification and testing programs that utilize health IT.  Certification in support of a Learning Health System must be specific, carefully planned, focused on the areas that have the greatest impact on interoperability, and closely aligned with programmatic goals.
  • ONC or another agency should establish the programmatic goals before commencing with any certification program associated with the effort.  It is important that certification criteria be closely evaluated and aligned with the functionalities necessary to meet the goals of the program in question as the move continues beyond EHR-specific certification.
  • HIMSS supports greater harmonization and alignment across the programs covered by certification.
  • HIMSS supports the idea of including the level of adoption and maturity among standards as an important consideration when evaluating inclusions for certification programs.

HIMSS will continue to monitor the progress on CMS Meaningful Use Stage 3 program and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. Look for updated information at the Policy Center on the HIMSS website. 

About HIMSS

HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.

HIMSS is a cause-based, global enterprise producing health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 58,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 640 corporations and 400 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause.  HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

May 29, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HHS announces proposed rules to support the path to nationwide interoperability

Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs and 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria rules proposed

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced the release of the Stage 3 notice of proposed rulemaking for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Incentive Programs and 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria to improve the way electronic health information is shared and ultimately improve the way care is delivered and experienced. Together, these proposed rules will give providers additional flexibility, make the program simpler, and drive interoperability among electronic health records, and increase the focus on patient outcomes to improve care.

The proposed rules are one part of a larger effort across HHS to deliver better care, spend health dollars more wisely, and have healthier people and communities by working in three core areas: to improve the way providers are paid; improve the way care is delivered; and improve the way information is shared. Together, these improvements can support better care and lower costs in the health care system.

“The flow of information is fundamental to achieving a health system that delivers better care, smarter spending, and healthier people. The steps we are taking today will help to create more transparency on cost and quality information, bring electronic health information to inform care and decision making, and support population health,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

The Meaningful Use Stage 3 proposed rule issued by CMS specifies new criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet to qualify for Medicaid EHR incentive payments. The rule also proposes criteria that providers must meet to avoid Medicare payment adjustments (Medicaid has no payment adjustments) based on program performance beginning in payment year 2018. The rule give more flexibility and simplifies requirements for providers by focusing on advanced use of electronic health records and eliminating requirements that are no longer relevant.

The 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria proposed rule aligns with the path toward interoperability – the secure, efficient, and effective sharing and use of health information –identified in ONC’s draft shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap. The proposed rule builds on past editions of adopted health IT certification criteria, and includes new and updated IT functionality and provisions that support the EHR Incentive Programs care improvement, cost reduction, and patient safety across the health system.

“This Stage 3 proposed rule does three things: it helps simplify the meaningful use program, advances the use of health IT toward our vision for improving health delivery, and further aligns the program with other quality and value programs,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, M.D., M.Sc., CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer. “And, in an effort to make reporting easier for health care providers, we will be proposing a new meaningful use reporting deadline soon.”

“ONC’s proposed rule will be an integral component in the shared nationwide effort to achieve an interoperable health system,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H, M.Sc., national coordinator for health IT. “The certification criteria we have proposed in the 2015 Edition will help achieve that vision through provisions that consider the range of health IT users and uses across the care continuum, including those focused on interoperable standards, data portability, improved transparency, privacy and security capabilities, and increased oversight through ONC’s Health IT Certification Program.”

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, doctors, health care professionals and hospitals, including critical access hospitals, can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt and meaningfully use health IT technology certified by ONC. Since the programs began in 2011, more than 433,000 eligible professionals and eligible hospitals have received an incentive payment representing about 60 percent of eligible professionals in either the Medicare or Medicaid programs and about 95 percent of eligible hospitals.

The Stage 3 proposed rule’s scope is generally limited to the requirements and criteria for meaningful use in 2017 and subsequent years. CMS is considering additional changes to meaningful use beginning in 2015 through separate rulemaking. Read more about this announcement on Dr. Conway’s blog.

The Stage 3 proposed rule may be viewed at here and the comment period ends on May 29, 2015. The 2015 Edition proposed rule may be viewed at here and the comment period ends on May 29, 2015. The Draft 2015 Edition Certification Test Procedures may be viewed at HealthIT.gov, and the comment period ends on June 30, 2015.

More information on meaningful use can be found on the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website at http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/index.html.

More information on ONC’s editions of certification criteria can be found at http://www.healthit.gov/policy-researchers-implementers/standards-and-certification-regulations.

March 20, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

New federal health IT strategic plan sets stage for better sharing through interoperability

Federal Health IT Strategic Plan open for 60-day comment period

Following collaboration with more than 35 federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today issued the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The Strategic Plan represents a coordinated and focused effort to appropriately collect, share, and use interoperable health information to improve health care, individual, community and public health, and advance research across the federal government and in collaboration with private industry.

The Strategic Plan, which is open for comments, serves as the broad federal strategy setting the context and framing the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap that will be released in early 2015. The Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap will help to define the implementation of how the federal government and private sector will approach sharing health information.

The U.S. Government has led this charge as a major payer, purchaser and provider of care and associated health IT and through programs associated with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. HITECH accelerated the adoption of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology among hospitals and providers, with 93 percent of eligible hospitals and 76 percent of physicians and eligible professionals taking part in the first stage of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. In addition, more than 150,000 health care providers across the nation are working with the HITECH-funded regional extension centers to optimize the use of health IT.

“The 2015 Strategic Plan provides the federal government a strategy to move beyond health care to improve health, use health IT beyond EHRs, and use policy and incentive levers beyond the incentive programs,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary for health. “The success of this plan is also dependent upon insights from public and private stakeholders and we encourage their comments.”

“We are very pleased to be collaborating with Health and Human Services, and our other federal partners, on developing the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.  This plan aligns with our health IT priorities. As a large provider and purchaser of care, we continually look for ways to expand the sharing of critical healthcare information with our healthcare partners,” said Karen S. Guice, M.D., M.P.P.,principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Department of Defense.

“The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan collectively represents specific goals and strategies for how interoperability will be leveraged to foster the technological advancement of health information exchange to improve quality of care for Veterans while supporting patient-provider interaction,” said Gail Graham, deputy secretary for health informatics and analytics at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Health Information.

Beyond creating financial and regulatory incentives to encourage the use of health IT, the federal government is helping to create a competitive and innovative marketplace. This effort will help bring new tools to health IT consumers and provide tools to help strengthen health care delivery that aligns with other national strategies to improve health including safety, quality, prevention, and reducing disparities.

The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020 can be found on HealthIT.gov. The period to comment on the Strategic Plan ends Feb. 6, 2015.

Today’s data brief found that the ability to easily share electronic information with other care givers, an important component of chronic care management, is also a major motivation for physicians to adopt EHRs. Among physicians who adopted health IT before incentive funds were available, the ability to electronically exchange clinical information with other health care providers was the greatest motivator for adoption. More than a third of physicians who adopted EHRs after HITECH was enacted cited this capability as a major influence in their decision to adopt, and almost 4 in 10 physicians who were not using an EHR reported that the ability to electronically exchange clinical information would be a major driver in their decision to adopt.

December 8, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Financial incentives and ability to exchange clinical information found to be top reasons for EHR adoption

The need to share patient information with other providers and the use of financial incentives are key drivers in why many providers adopt and use health information technology tools like electronic health records (EHRs), according a data brief released today from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

The new data brief details why physicians decided to adopt – or not adopt –EHRs, and it helps to explain how financial incentives drive EHR adoption. The data, from the 2013 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, also highlights the high level of importance providers put on health information exchange.

The data demonstrates the importance of incentive programs like the HITECH Act’s Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs (meaningful use) and payments for services that include use of certified EHR technology, such as the separately billable Chronic Care Management services finalized under the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. ONC today posted a new tool to help clinicians estimate the amount of money they might receive from treating Medicare patients living with chronic conditions, while using their certified health information technology, on the HealthIT.gov dashboard.

The results released today show that since the enactment of HITECH in 2009, 62 percent of physicians who adopted health IT tools identified financial incentives and penalties as a major influence on their decision to adopt, compared with only 23 percent of physicians who adopted before 2009.

“We have seen a significant increase in the adoption and use of health IT systems among providers and the new data shows the importance of incentives in building an interoperable health IT system,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary of health. “National delivery system reform initiatives linked to certified technology, such as the separately billable chronic care management services, will help make the electronic use and sharing of health information a reality.”

Today’s data brief found that the ability to easily share electronic information with other care givers, an important component of chronic care management, is also a major motivation for physicians to adopt EHRs. Among physicians who adopted health IT before incentive funds were available, the ability to electronically exchange clinical information with other health care providers was the greatest motivator for adoption. More than a third of physicians who adopted EHRs after HITECH was enacted cited this capability as a major influence in their decision to adopt, and almost 4 in 10 physicians who were not using an EHR reported that the ability to electronically exchange clinical information would be a major driver in their decision to adopt.

December 5, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

ONC Announces Lucia Savage, Esq. As New Chief Privacy Officer

Karen DeSalvo sent the following announcement about the change:

Good morning ONC Team,

I am thrilled to announce that Lucia Savage, Esq. will join HHS and ONC as the Chief Privacy Officer.  She brings to our team a set of rich experiences at the intersection of health information, privacy, and modernizing the health care delivery system.  She has stellar qualifications and a passion for health IT in this nation and our work. I am confident that she will bring her wealth of experience to advance critical privacy and security policies in health IT development and implementation.

Lucia is currently Senior Associate General Counsel at UnitedHealthcare, where she supervises a team that represents UnitedHealthcare in its work in large data transactions related to health information exchanges, health care transparency projects, and other data-driven health care innovation projects.  She has served on the Governance Board of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Multi-Payer Claims data base project (2011-2013), and collaborated with health information exchanges and state agencies in their planning with payers.

Prior to joining UnitedHealthcare, Lucia was General Counsel at the non-profit Pacific Business Group on Health, where she oversaw the legal affairs and state policy initiatives for one of the nation’s oldest employer health care purchasing coalitions and its small group health insurance exchange, PacAdvantage.  At PBGH, Lucia applied her 15 years of experience as an employee benefit attorney, in both compliance and litigation, and expanded her practice to include health care regulation, data transactions, health care reform, and HIPAA implementation.  Before joining PBGH, she served as Stanford University’s benefits compliance officer.

Lucia has a BA from Mills College in Oakland, CA, and received her Juris Doctor summa cum laude from New York University School of Law in May 1989, where she was awarded the Order of the Coif.  She is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Corporate Counsel Association, and the American Health Lawyers Association. Lucia has authored many articles and given many lectures.  Most recently, she has been emphasizing the importance of cost and quality transparency in health care, and has been working on the complex issues of maintaining patient privacy while working to fully realize the potential of health information exchange for better patient care in a learning health care system.

Lucia will join ONC on October 20th.  I know that you will all welcome her and help to make her transition as seamless and smooth as possible.  She is ready to hit the ground running and is looking forward to getting to know everyone.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Kathryn Marchesini who has served as Acting Chief Privacy Officer over the past few months. Kathryn is an exceptional public servant, brilliant attorney and excellent manager.  She has been and will continue to be a valued and invaluable member of our team.

Best,

kd

Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc

October 14, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

DeSalvo to Address HIMSS14 Attendees

Chicago, IL (January 24, 2014) – Newly-appointed National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, will address attendees of the HIMSS14 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, FL.  Dr. DeSalvo will offer opening remarks at 8:30 am on Thursday morning, Feb. 27, prior to the morning’s keynote address from Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Marilyn Tavenner.

“HIMSS is honored that Dr. DeSalvo will be joining us for HIMSS14 in Orlando next month,” said Carla Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President of HIMSS. “Her insights and guidance are an exciting addition to the HIMSS14 lineup of health IT leaders from government and the healthcare community.”

Dr. DeSalvo is a physician and a leader in improving vulnerable populations’ access to healthcare, most recently as Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans, where she advocated for expanded use of health IT by New Orleans’ primary care providers, and ensured that the city’s newest public hospital will utilize a fully-integrated health IT network.  She has long understood the value of health IT, serving as President of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, the Louisiana lead for the state’s health information exchange and regional extension center grants, as well as a member of the Steering Committee for the Crescent City Beacon Community grant.

More information on HIMSS14 is available at http://www.himssconference.org.

About HIMSS

HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology. HIMSS is a part of HIMSS WorldWide, a cause-based, global enterprise producing health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS WorldWide encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause.  HIMSS WorldWide, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

January 24, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HIMSS Statement on Dr. Karen DeSalvo’s Appointment as National Coordinator for Health IT

Washington, DC (December 19, 2013) – HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has made an excellent selection in appointing Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc  as the new National Coordinator for Health IT, replacing Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, who left the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in early October 2013. Dr. DeSalvo, who currently serves as the Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans and Senior Health Policy Advisor to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, will join ONC on January 13, 2014.

HIMSS notes Dr. DeSalvo’s long history of leadership in bringing the benefits of health IT to Louisiana. She served as President of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, the Louisiana lead for the state’s health information exchange and regional extension center grants, and was a member of the Steering Committee for the Crescent City Beacon Community grant.  She also advocated for expanded use of health IT by New Orleans’ primary care providers, and ensured that the city’s newest public hospital will utilize a fully-integrated health IT network.

Dr. DeSalvo, who spoke at HIMSS13 in New Orleans earlier this year, has a deep understanding of the value of informatics, as well as of the challenges and promise of interoperability. That insight will be essential as she transitions to lead ONC’s efforts to assist U.S. clinicians and healthcare organizations as they move into Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

HIMSS looks forward to collaborating with Dr. DeSalvo and the entire ONC team, as we work to underscore the value of health IT as a foundational resource in achieving healthcare transformation.

 

About HIMSS

HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology. HIMSS is a part of HIMSS WorldWide, a cause-based, global enterprise producing health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS WorldWide encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause.  HIMSS WorldWide, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

December 19, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.